Benefitting from the continued sales growth across all markets, led by cancer drug Soliris, Alexion Pharma (ALXN) Monday reported a double-digit increase in fourth-quarter revenues and adjusted earnings, which sent the company’s stock soaring in the pre-market trading.
Fourth-quarter revenues moved up 24% to $1.13 billion from the same period of last year and came in above analysts’ forecast. There was a 30% increase in the sales volume. Soliris continued to drive the top line growth, accounting for about 87% of the total revenue.
Adjusted earnings climbed 45% annually to $2.14 per share during the three-month period, beating estimates. On an unadjusted basis, the company reported a net loss of $45 million or $0.20 per share, compared to a profit of $30 million or $0.13 per share in the prior-year quarter. The reported results included expenses related to the research and development asset acquired in connection with the acquisition of Syntimmune.
“As we look at 2019 and beyond, I am confident that this strong foundation positions us well to achieve our Four Pillars of growth, building durable, blockbuster franchises in PNH/aHUS, metabolics, neurology and FcRn,” said CEO Ludwig Hantson.
The bottom line was impacted by expenses related to the R&D asset acquired in connection with the acquisition of Syntimmune
Having registered strong sales growth for all the leading products in recent quarters, the company remains bullish about its future performance. For fiscal 2019, the management expects adjusted and unadjusted earnings per share in the range of 6.14-$7.26 and $9.10-$9.30 respectively.
Full-year revenues are estimated to be between $4.63 billion and $4.70 billion, and unadjusted operating margin in the 36%-43% range. R&D expenses are expected to be in the range of 17% to 18% of revenues.
During the quarter, the company filed US and European Union submissions for Soliris for the treatment of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. The formulation will be submitted for approval in Japan later this year.
Last week, fellow drug-maker Pfizer (PFE) reported stronger-than-expected revenues and earnings for the fourth quarter, with increases of 2% and 64% respectively from the prior-year quarter. Among others, Merck (MRK) staged a strong recovery in its most recent fiscal quarter, reporting earnings of $0.69 per share compared to a loss in the year-ago period.
Shares of Alexion Pharma closed the last trading session higher and gained further in the premarket trading Monday. The stock rose about 16% in the past twelve months.